Webinar: The effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable urban populations and strategies for mitigation

A webinar on 5 November 2020, 10:00-11:30am CET (Geneva) organised by the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, bringing together findings from six countries featuring our colleague Francis Reffell.

COVID-19 has a disproportionately large impact on vulnerable populations globally, including but not limited to slum dwellers and migrant workers. These populations often have limited access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, live in cramped conditions where it is difficult to socially distance and are more likely to be dependent on a daily wage. Vulnerability to loss of income also makes it difficult to meet basic nutritional needs. Therefore, implementation of potential government recommendations such as social distancing and WASH to slow the transmission of COVID-19 becomes extremely difficult.

Both the effects of COVID-19 and the strategies to mitigate these effects must be context-specific, taking into account the needs of these populations. While considering individual contexts, bringing together learning from a wide range of socio-economically, culturally and geographically vulnerable populations will help us learn from experiences that may be more widely applicable.

This webinar will bring together country teams from Ghana, Vietnam, India, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Kenya, all of whom have been engaging in responding to COVID-19 in the context of vulnerable populations in their settings. The webinar seeks to draw lessons learned from these teams. The Alliance hopes that such lessons will be useful for those working on similar issues in other settings, including policymakers tasked with responding to COVID-19 and health systems researchers keen to better understand the added value of HPSR in such a response.


  • Dr Zubin Shroff, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO, Switzerland
  • Dr Geetanjali Lamba, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO, Switzerland


  • Dr Matilda Aberese-Ako, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana
  • Prof. Bui Thi Thu Ha, Hanoi University of Public Health, Vietnam
  • Mr Francis Reffell, Centre of Dialogue on Human Settlement and Poverty Alleviation (CODOHSAPA), Sierra Leone
  • Ms Niloufer Memon, Bridgespan Group, India
  • Mr Yussuf Sane, Tostan, Guinea-Bissau
  • Mr Kennedy Odede, Shining Hope For Communities, Kenya

Register for webinar